CHRIS LEBEN vs. WANDERLEI SILVA
UFC 132, 7/2/11
Result: Leben wins via first-round knockout
“Wanderlei Silva was my hero. Me and my best friend would walk across town and go to this Japanese toy store that had bootleg PRIDE videos when I first started training, just to watch Wanderlei Silva fight, because that was back when you couldn’t really watch PRIDE in the United States. The guy scared the shit out of me. I thought he’d maybe kill somebody out there. So the fight was one of those ‘be careful what you wish for’ moments.
I wanted to fight Wanderlei Silva not because I thought I’d beat him easy. But I truly want to have epic fights. I fancy myself to be a martial artist, and somebody that strives to grow and progress, and I knew that was a tough measuring stick for me. There’s always that, ‘How do I stack up now against him?’ It wasn’t that I thought I could win. I’m not afraid to admit when I’m scared. I’m not afraid to admit that I think he’s a better fighter than me. But a man faces his fears, and that was more or less my thought process when I fought Wanderlei.”
CHRIS LEBEN vs. MARK MUNOZ
UFC 138, 11/5/11
“I’d like to get back up there again. I’ve won four out of my last five. My Brian Stann fight was definitely a major bummer; I was not at 100%, you know, but he did great. I want to see how I stack up, and I think that I can be the guy with belt one day. So right now, Munoz and I are fighting for that top tier — the person who’s #1 contender after Chael [Sonnen].
I think I have a little more experience than Munoz, and honestly, I think I’m more technical. I think my jiu-jitsu game is sharper. He’s obviously a better wrestler, but I would say I hold the advantage pretty much anywhere. I’ve been doing it longer. If I wanted to tell you Mark Munoz’s best attribute, I would say it’s sheer will, and his toughness. The guy is a fighter. He’s a fighter at heart, so I know that it’s not gonna be easy. He’s a tough guy to put away.”
“I don’t aspire to be Randy Couture. I aspire to be married with children. I have my gym; my true passion is coaching and training. I feel that I’m growing exponentially right now as a martial artist. So I want to see how far I’m gonna go, but definitely when I feel the time come, I won’t be afraid to hang it up. How much longer do I have, I’m not sure. I’m gonna have to listen to my body. But I give myself three to five. I’m not shooting to fight at 40, I don’t want it.
I want to be remembered for growth. I want people to look at me and say, ‘Wow, this is where he started and look where he ended up.’”